August 30, 20227 min read
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader’’ – John Quincy Adams
Wouldn’t it be nice if all you had to do as a contact center supervisor was offer pep talks to your agents and make motivational presentations on maximizing productivity? Or if only a six-week training program were all it took to turn agents into support superheroes? What if AI and automation magically handled all customer escalations without lifting a finger?
The general perception that all you need are people management skills to be a successful contact center supervisor is far from reality — there is often frustration, chaos, and burnout. The article will debunk this myth and many others, helping you become more efficient at your job.
It’s 3 pm. Allen, a mild-mannered and affable supervisor of a contact center situated on the West Coast, receives an email from the quality assurance (QA) team. The email contains the performance report of Jay, one of his high-performing tier one agents. Jay has been experiencing a massive productivity slump. Not only are his KPIs not up to the mark, but he’s also been taking fewer calls and longer breaks lately. Allen is disappointed, but a part of him feels guilty about not being there when his agent needed him.
After Jay missed 10 SLAs and two escalations, Allen finally decides to have “the talk” with him. During his one-on-one, Allen learns that Jay has been dealing with several work-related issues. Jay felt he wasn’t expanding and improving his skillset and knowledge. He felt overburdened with long working hours and repetitive queries. Upon realizing that Jay’s deteriorating performance and lack of motivation can affect the other agents’ performance, Allen takes it upon himself to fix the situation.
For the next two weeks, Allen strives to build his team’s sense of confidence and competence. Allen starts with Jay. From one-on-one sessions to giving Jay the flexibility to decide his working hours, he wanted to prop up Jay to make most of his workday. This works wonders, with Jay getting back in the groove and nailing his metrics again like clockwork. As for Allen, he promises to check in on his team every day, no matter what. In fact, he has started organizing team-building activities, such as small games, that inspire creativity, avoid agent burnout, and foster teamwork.
A supervisor’s job is to constantly ensure every customer’s concern is addressed without delay and to help their team stay at the top of their game. Not to forget, creating an environment that fosters agent well-being and growth is also a big part of the job.
Here are key highlights of Allen’s daily life as a contact center supervisor.
For Allen, every day is different, with unexpected challenges and new expectations. A typical day is a good mix of customer tickets, escalations, and agent performance discussions. But those are precisely the reasons why Allen loves his job.
Here’s a glimpse of Allen’s daily life:
7:00 am – 10:00 am
Allen usually wakes up between 7 am and 7:30 am and begins his day with a cup of black coffee and a quick scan of the morning newspaper. He then vrooms over to his workplace in a black Iron 883.
Allen is at his desk by 9 am. First, he checks his inbox, calendar, and to-do lists. Next, he logs into his CRM and makes a note of all the unfinished tasks from the previous day. This is followed by organizing complex tasks before the contact center starts buzzing with phone calls. He uses the tranquil morning hours to review his team’s performance and keeps an eye on potential escalations so that he can tailor the agenda for the team huddle.
10 am – noon
At about 11 am, Allen and his team convene for 15 minutes, where agents share status updates on ticket queues. After this, Allen attends a couple of other weekly meetings — a) one with agents facing escalations and other issues b) other with the operational leadership and cross-functional team to fill them about major blockers and gaps. These two meetings focus on improving the performance of both the contact center and agents.
Noon – 1 pm
After wrapping up those meetings, Allen usually works on action items from those stand-ups, such as liaising with other internal teams to collect customer insights, performing quality checks on the floor, investigating escalations, etc. Typically, 50-60% of his day consists of reviews, meetings, and feedback sessions. And a bulk of these activities take place after lunch, around 2:30 pm.
Allen counts on his coffee refill and a low-carb vegetarian lunch to power through the rest of his day.
2 pm – 5 pm
After lunch, Allen gets ready to dive into his one-on-ones, QA, and other training sessions. One of the main responsibilities of a supervisor like Allen is managing agents’ performance and improving their productivity by understanding their strengths and weaknesses. In fact, Allen has found that regular one-on-ones help him connect with his agents on a personal level. He also collaborates with the HR department to create career development exercises for his team.
5 pm – 5:30 pm
Allen understands that slip-ups are bound to happen with humans, especially in a contact center where agent burnout is common. So he goes the extra mile to help agents achieve their goals by highlighting their areas of improvement with performance scorecards and celebrating their small wins with recognitions.
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Similarly, Allen holds frequent quality checks and feedback sessions by dedicating some time each week to talk to his agents in a more casual setting. It could be a short hallway conversation or a quick chat over a cup of coffee. But the goal remains the same: to understand agents’ pain points and coach them for success. Sometimes, there is nothing concrete to discuss, but Allen still schedules these sessions to maintain open lines of communication with his agents.
His job is not only to ensure that best-performing agents are rewarded for their hard work but also that they get coached for their future. For example, Allen lets each team member share anything from career interests to vacations. For him, it’s important that his agents know he’s got their back.
6:30 pm – 8 pm
Allen discusses ideas the top management shares on improving customer support and productivity with his team. He gives constructive feedback and grants each agent space to come up with hacks to improve their performance. For instance, Allen once asked his agents to search for research-backed methods that could improve their knowledge retention capabilities. That’s when one of the agents introduced the popular chunking technique to the team. This enabled the team to differentiate customer issues by complexity, significantly improving resolution times and customer satisfaction levels.
Before calling it a day, Allen sends daily performance updates to the entire team and his reporting manager. Finally, somewhere between 8 and 8:30 pm, Allen heads home.
8 pm – 10:00 pm
Once he’s home, Allen enjoys a home-cooked family dinner and steps out for a stroll with his five-year-old daughter before going to bed at 10 pm.
Allen truly values his agents’ well-being and takes an interest in getting to know them both personally and professionally. The rapport Allen shares with his team members inspires him to empower them with the right tools, information, and training programs. Most of all, he has terrific coworkers who never fail to cheer him up, no matter what.
And that’s not all. Allen manages to stay strong throughout despite overwhelming challenges, professional meltdowns, and letdowns. Part 2 of this blog will address Allen’s struggles as a support supervisor in more depth. Stay tuned!